tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC March 19, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EDT
two big stories developing at this hour in libya. more fighting overnight as the u.s. and its allies meet on whether to take military action. it could happen as soon as today. in japan, more fallout from the growing disaster. now there's a new threat to those who live near the nuclear reactors. we will have a live report. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. dramatic twists on the ground in
libya and the threat of international military action. it is rapidliesque lating. this morning, shelling has been reported at the rebel stronghold of benghazi despite a cease fire gadhafi ordered on friday. renls say they shot down a pro-gadhafi fighter jet. in paris, a crisis meeting will begin shortly to detail what kind of military action the international community may take. action could begin within hours of this meeting. we have a live report from the region. we have big news from japan this morning. workers are making progress as they frant ickically attempt to rebuild power lines to the reactors and hope to re-establish power at the fukushima daiichi sometime today but even if power is restored it is not clear if the cooling pumps will work. meanwhile, the japanese government says spinach and milk taken from farms near the fukushima daiichi plant exceed safety limits for radiation.
japan's chief cabinet secretary was quick to add it poses no immediately health risk. officials here in the u.s. saying testing along the west coast shows no health threats from the radiation spewing from the reactors in japan. they say the radiation that has reached the u.s. coastline has dissipated so much it poses no risk at all. nbc's robert bazelle is live with us in tokyo and with a good evening you're feeling an aftershock in the last hour or so. what was that like? >> reporter: well, it's like we've been having them twice a day or so since we've been here and a particularly big feeling one because it was fairly close to here. only about 80 miles to the north. the earthquake is moving down the fault line and had more and more south since the original gigantic one a week ago. >> okay. well then, good to know it's nothing out of the ordinary. >> reporter: no damage here in
tokyo. >> let's get to -- >> reporter: you get used to. >> i guess you have to. let's get latest on the effort to getting the nuclear reactors under control. what do you know about that? >> reporter: well, the news today seems to be pretty good although certainly not over yet. there's no victory declared but they have electricity to two of the units and they're going to as you mentioned at the top see if they can run the pumps. big question. they do have pumps running at two other units, units 5 and 6 they have generators going now and that's bringing the temperature down, that's very, very good news. they're spraying water into unit 3, the very troubled one and so much water into it they think they should have filled up the spent fuel tank by now so this is a lot of activity going on, nothing seems to be in the wrong direction. all of it seems to be good in terms of getting the power plant under control and this disaster is far from over, alex. >> yeah. what about the mood there, bob?
you know, people mark things with passages of time and increments and it's been a week now. what is it like there? >> reporter: well, it's -- japanese people are very stoic people and they don't show a lot of emotion and it's very -- depends on who you talk to. i don't think people so worried about the radiation as the rest of the world is. they sort of think this is blown out of proportion by people in the united states and europe. that may or may not be so but that's the -- that's the feeling of a lot of people i have spoken to. meanwhile you have another crisis where a huge portion of the country as we know horrible devastating scenes were wiped out with the earthquake and tsunami and people with relatives up there or just part of their country so that is a very depressing thing. in addition here in tokyo which wasn't affected by the earthquake or tsunami very much, there is -- it's still very hard
to get gasoline. the trains don't run quite right so a lot of businesses are closed. and life here is not as easy as it should be. alex? >> i can about imagine. bob, thank you very much live from tokyo with us. international rescue teams working in japan say they have little hope of finding anymore survivors now eight days after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami but they say they're sustained by the measure of comfort they can provide to some anxious loved ones. >> yesterday we found a young girl's body, an 8-year-old girl. we were able to see her back to her family. >> an 8-year-old girl, right? rescue teams say they have witnessed some small miracles. a japanese woman who lost everything she owned was reunited with her pet dog may. that has to bring joy there. fears of contamination hurting sales at the fish market this weekend. the area's typically crowded on
saturday but the market was quiet this morning with growing uncertainty over long-term contamination of fish stocks. those that did show up to shop expressed varying degrees of concern about the radiation threat. and u.s. customs officials are stepping up monitoring of flights from japan over concerns of radiation. the move comes after trace amounts of radiation were found on luggage at airports in chicago and dallas earlier this week. it all came on flights arriving from japan. officials say the low level readings pose no risk to the public. >> everybody is concerned about the level of radiation in japan and because the flying public in this country gets panicked it is a legitimate concern. >> airports across the country conducting radiation checks on passengers arriving from japan. besides airports, custom agents scrutinize mail and cargo on ships from japan. has the japanese government done nif in the week since the earthquake and tsunami struck?
we are going to hear from a reporter in tokyo about the mood of the country just a bit later in this hour. more fighting on the ground in libya. the international community is poised to intervene with force. gadhafi's army reportedly shelled mbenbenghazi, the home for rebels in libya. rebels claim they shot down a fighter plane bombing the city. government officials deny it was their plane. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel covering things for us. let's get the latest on what's happening on the ground today. >> reporter: international military action against libya is looking more and more likely, alex. yesterday, president obama called on gadhafi, called on libya to immediately stop attacking civilians, immediately pull back from libyan cities. however, since that speech, libyan forces have gone even closer to benghazi and according to many reports were fighting
just on the western suburbs of benghazi itself. that is the kind of action that could provoke an international military response, particularly today in about an hour leaders from europe and the united states secretary of state hillary clinton representing the united states are meeting in paris to discuss a possible coordinated military front against libya. >> richard, i'm curious. i know we'll talk with colonel jack jacobs about the meetings and if you could have strikes in minutes or hours. that said, with regard to the picture we have all seen now of that fighter jet being shot down, is there confirmation? could it be anybody but the rebels that would have brought that down because, of course, the government denies that it was their plane or that the government or rather the rebels had done that. but real istically speaking, ar the rebels responsible for
bringing that plane down? >> reporter: it's very hard to know and i think that's one of the questions that even the rebels have been asking themselves. there's some confusion as to whose plane that is and who shot it down. there are aircraft in benghazi and aircraft on the airstrip outside of the city and the rebels are armed with anti-aircraft guns which they have been firing fairly wildly into the air and fire at almost anything that flew over the sky. if you remember when there was a british helicopter commando helicopter that landed to try to coordinate the rebels, with the rebels, that helicopter was surrounded by rebel forces and the people on board were taken off. so there is a high degree of nervousness and very little communications and the rebels are likely to be firing at anything that flies even a friendly jet or a friendly aircraft in their space. but that does not stop the
numerous witness reports that there are -- there is ongoing fighting in misrati and that gadhafi forces advanced even further to benghazi. this u.n. resolution that is -- that at the center of the international effort to effectively disarm gadhafi's -- and take away the mostletal weapons, benghazi is specifically mentioned in the resolution. the resolution is designed primarily to protect the civilians of benghazi so despite the aircraft confusion, the fact that gadhafi's forces moving closer to benghazi, fighting on the outskirts, that's enough to provoke an international military response if that's what they decide to do today. >> thank you very much. on the heels 0 of that, joining me retired army colonel
jack jacobs w. a good morning to you, jack -- >> good morning. >> that meeting in paris, if there's a vote and decide let's get on this, get going, how quickly can a military response be implemented? >> well, you said earlier when you're talking to richard minutes. you are correct. >> really? >> we have aircraft carriers in the mediterranean. british aircraft are on their way. they can launch aircraft from italy. but the first strikes in any case won't be airplanes and most likely going to be guided missiles. launched from ships. because they have to take out the anti-aircraft artillery. you can't establish a no-fly zone until you knock out the surface to air missile sites, the heavy ground weapons. you got to do that first. first launches will probably look a lot like the gulf war. you have the "uss kirsag" in the
gulf of sidra and will launch cruise missiles like tomahawks to take out the anti-aircraft artillery. >> a no-fly zone, it is specifically what it says, i mean, you can't fly in that area. but how is that kind of a thing enforced, jack? i mean, do we scramble communications? and even if we do, what's to say that control knell gadhafi couldn't decide to launch a plane that just does things on eyesight rather than radar? is that possible or not? >> it's possible but difficult. one of the things that we're providing to the allied force less airplanes and bombs than it is intelligence. satellites. awax aircraft to see and intercept electronic signals, detect radar and other signals in the spectrum. they have been up over the mediterranean monitoring the
situation for some time. so we will provide that. we can see things on the ground from an enormous distance from all the way up at satellite level and we'll be able to intercept things that we do see. so, yeah. he can launch something but it's unlikely to get it up. >> all right. colonel jack jacobs, thank you. >> see you later. the president's trip to south america, what he hopes to accomplish and what message from there on libya if any? we have a live report on that. plus containing the fallout in japan. is the nuclear plant there too old to be safe? might the u.s. have the same potential problem? and why police say they've solved the mystery behind a murder at a yoga shop. this is msnbc saturday.
president obama's in brazil this morning on the first leg of the three-nation swing. the white house framing it as a mission to secure u.s. jobs but critics say it's bad timing given the situation in libya. chuck todd is nbc news white house correspondent and joins me live from the brazilian capital. what's on the agenda there today? >> reporter: well, today, alex, starts with a bilateral meeting with the new brazilian president, the first woman president of brazil and holds a joint statement with her, the brazilians decided they didn't want to take any press questions and of course the president gives a -- will wrap up, give an end of session speech at a joint u.s.-brazil ceo conference that is taking place here and that really sort of sums up why the president is in latin america, and that is, despite the fact that we share a hemisphere, the
united states' influence in south america economically is waning frankly over the past decade. china has really filled the gap and part of the goal of the trip and one of the reasons they felt like they couldn't cancel the trip -- yeah, they have a going on with japan, two other continents. japan on one end, libya on the other end and felt tfld send a horrible message to a region that feels as if the united states takes them for granted. >> yeah. clearly, the white house is monitoring the situation of libya. how's that going? is the president kept up to date? got to be. >> reporter: alex, we just lost audio. >> yeah. i can hear you. can you hear me, chuck, or not? >> reporter: my apologies. >> we'll get him later. thanks so much. new and disturbing fallout of the nuclear reactors leaking radiation in japan. the country's top government
official says radiation in spinach and milk near the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant is reported. and emergency crews in japan frantically working to reconnect power to those crippled nuclear reactors leaking radiation. electricians are struggling with equipment damaged by the tsunami trying to restart the systems. plant operators say they hope to have power re-established to four of the six reactors some time today. joining me live is james keating. james has 40 years of experience in the nuclear power industry. good morning to you, james. >> good morning. >> you have experience working at nuclear power plants similar to the one in fukushima. tell us what that's like, daily let alone after a tsunami and earthquake. >> well, on a daily basis, we
really don't have that many concerns. it's -- for most people that work in the plant it is a job. it's what they do for a living and they're accustomed to it and they're confident in the safety of the nuclear plants. i would like to say that i listened to president obama on thursday and i agree with the president. he said on thursday that we need to assess the incident that happened in japan and to learn from the accident, and to take that knowledge that we learn and make our reactors as safe as possible and move forward with construction of the next generation nuclear reactors that have passed the safety systems safer than current generation. >> james, what i like about what you're saying, yeah, that's the future to look at but we have plenty of nuclear power plants, 104 in this country just about as old. fukushima plant about 50 years old. where do you have concerns here
in the united states about plants that were built along fault lines and also old? >> well, the plants on the fault lines are diablo canyon in california and the indian point plant is on the fault on the hudson river just north of new york city. but they're not subject to tsunamis. the indian point plant certainly isn't. it's far inland as far as santo nopri is close to the seashore and i'm sure they'll be examining the emergency diesel generators, location of the switch gear and breaker that is are important to safety and they may well change the location of some of this equipment to a higher elevation in case there is a tsunami associated with an earthquake. >> okay. a couple of things here. know e that you have said some of the older reactors built with
the idea to be replaced by newer, safer rereactors. why did that not happen, do you think some of them should be shut down? >> well, one of the reasons it didn't happen is because after three mile island we -- there were -- there weren't any utility companies willing to contract to build them anymore and we started up and place online those reactors that were well along in the construction phase at the time of the accident. so since three mile island, no new nuclear power plants have been built in the united states and only a handful have recently been ordered. the original -- when they were originally built they were built with a postulated 40-year life expectancy but didn't expect to run them that long. they fully expected that a newer generation of plant would have been going online probably 20 years after the start-up of the
original plants. fukushima indentally is one of the oldest reactors operating anywhere in the world. >> okay. all right. james keating, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we'll talk to you again. thank you. >> thank you. thank you very much. has the japanese government done enough in the week since the earthquake and tsunami vuk? we'll hear from a reporter in tokyo about the mood in the country. hot waffles... the smell of warm maple syrup. honeysuckle and rosemary. the smell of shaving cream.
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♪ are you having any laughs? ♪ are you getting any loving? ♪ ♪ if other people do, so can you ♪ ♪ have a little joy [ female announcer ] how does your next week look? why not get away and book a royal caribbean cruise at royalcaribbean.com today? welcome back to msnbc saturday. i'm alex witt. here's what's happening right now. long-time diplomat warren christopher has died. he was secretary of state under president bill clinton and served in the johnson and carter administrations. a spokesperson said he died last night of complications of bladder and kidney cancer. warren christopher was 85. police say co-workers were behind the murder of a woman. investigators say britney norwood killed jayna murray and
then made up a story of them being attacked. murray arrested friday and charged with first-degree murder. a wisconsin judge blocked governor walker's anti-union law, the judge complaining a complaint against lawmakers who used loopholes to pass a bill that gut it is rights of government workers. and get ready to see a bigger and brighter moon tonight. the moon will appear larger making the closest approach to earth in 18 years. rebels shoot down a war plane in libya as gadhafi sends a new message to the u.n. we have a live report next. [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow
and here's what we did today in homes all across america: we created the electricity that powered the alarm clocks and brewed the coffee. we heated the bathwater and gave kelly a cleaner ride to school. cooked the cube steaks and steamed the veggies. entertained dad, and mom, and a neighbor or two. kept watch on the house when they slept. and tomorrow we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at anga.us. i'm alex witt. in a moment, the latest on japan's nuclear crisis and the showdown against libya's moe mor gadhafi. president obama arrived in brazil and meeting with the country's newly-elected
president this morning. it's heroism and a close call for a teenaged girl. as many as ten bystanders are credited with rescuing the teen from a man trying to kidnap her. he was arrested when the train stopped. police say the suspect is a registered sex offender. in new york city, a ceremony held today at the scene of last saturday's tour bus accident that killed 15 people. the city will close one lane of the highway to accommodate the relatives. a 32-year-old houston mother is charged with child endangering after the toddler was found drunk. the mother said she fell asleep while drinking and woke up to see the child on the floor appearing to be intoxicated. in philadelphia, police say a 28-year-old man is confessed to stoning a 70-year-old man to death. the suspect reportedly said he did it because the man-made homosexual advances toward him. those are the fast five headlines. right now, international leaders preparing to meet in
paris to discuss taking military action in libya. bombings have been reported in the capital of benghazi after issuing a cease fire. this new video showing a fighter plane in flames in benghazi. details are still emerging about what happened. let's go to jim maceda for us. good morning to you. what are you hearing about this jet? >> reporter: hi there, alex. the jet is confirmed to be a rebel jet, rebels themselves who confirmed it. they have two or three of these very old jets of the 1970s they commandeered taking the benghazi area and sent it up in the southwestern outskirts of benghazi where the early-morning fighting was taking place. that's where the pro-gadhafi forces trying to punch in to the city, and it's not clear whether it was shot down by pro-gadhafi anti-aircraft fire or whether it
simply exploded in the area. it happened before, again, these are 1970s jets, old migs and haven't been flown in a long time and are in a state of disrepair. we can confirm that fighting is now about to begin if it hasn't already in what we call the center of the city of benghazi, the pro-gadhafi forces moving from about 40 miles outside last night to 12 or so miles this morning and then about three miles a couple of hours ago launching mortars, launching artillery and now we understand that they have punched but that southwestern approach, that rebels have pulled back, are regrouping in the city center and say now that they're preparing to fight street to street. so it's a very fluid situation and certainly a complete and total violation of the cease fire, not only the cease fire agreement or cease fire
resolution or part of the resolution from the u.n. security council, that demand, but also the libyan government's own immediate and effective cease fire that it claimed it was putting into effect yesterday friday. >> yeah. >> reporter: back to you. >> jim, i want to ask, given that the jet come down and confirmation of rebels it's one of their jets, do we know what brought it down? whether it was rebels that were shooting and hit their own plane, whether it was these gadhafi force that is have punched through into the benghazi area and they brought it down or whether you described it as old planes, might it have been a malfunction on the plane? >> reporter: that's exactly right. we don't know that. it's still the fog of war there. we have not gotten that information. again, we are not in mbenbengha. her in tripoli about 600 miles to the west. so -- and it could be any of those so we have to be careful of how we report this until we get confirmation of sources in
benghazi and other sources, as well, who are in the fighting and relaying very often the information comes from rebels or even pro-gadhafi fighters calling outside the country and those calls are then relayed to others inside the country. it's a route in terms of getting valid information and still waiting to hear on that. we can confirm, however, because we were all part of it about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning convened to have a press conference here at this hotel in tripoli. again, the deputy foreign minister told us that that the things are lies we're reporting, there have been absolutely no violations of the cease fire that they put into effect yesterday and as i'm talking you probably hear cease fire violations going on behind me. that no bombardments at all, all the reports of military operations are fabrications of the other side and that they're calling and repeating their call
to bring in u.n. monitors to monitor the situation here to observe the cease fire and to prove once and for all it is not the pro-libyan forces but the other side violating the cease fire. alex? >> it is fascinating. you report about the violations and cease fire. we hear them and you continue talking. i would think it's somewhat unnerving but jim, job well done. thank you so much. we'll talk to you again from tripoli. japan's nuclear safety agency says backup safety systems were not properly protected. they were submerged by the tsunami that hit eight days ago. electricians are trying to restart the cooling systems as they struggle to cool the dangerously overheated nuclear fuel. joining me from tokyo, a reporter with "the washington post." and david, with the good day to you, we know for the first time the japanese government acknowledged it was overwhelmed by the scale of the earthquake and the tsunami, that's what slowed down the response to the
ensuing nuclear crisis. the fact that the government is admitting mistakes, how big of a deal is that? >> i think it's a huge deal. there's a general sense i think in japan that the people are getting frustrated with their own government, at least the message that was delivered in the first week of this catastrophe and i think that the people -- we just wanted information when all the information as you get it and we want you to be open and, you know, forthright about it so make a decision and i think there's a sense of the government trying to, you know, if not cover up but certainly sort of roll the information out in a way that kept people calm. you don't want mass confusion and panic but the same time the government was not forthright of what was going on and as a true threat and getting worse not better over the week. >> absolutely. david, i'm curious. if the government in terms of your sense of things could it have done things dramatically differently following the quake and tsunami than it did or was
it sort of front ended, the fact that these backup generator s ad the like particularly relative to the fukushima daiichi plant there, clearly not properly installed so wherein lies the problem? >> that's a good question and you have some experts saying that they offered immediate assistance and guidance and that even a debate between the u.s. and japanese about, you know, how much advice that the u.s. was offering and support and that even a sense that the japanese might have been ignoring it or turning it down and dispute about that. so i think what you have here is two different tales told and a natural event of unprecedented proportions followed by the tsunami, how could anybody be prepared for such a thing? the japanese trying to do the best they can. on the other hand, you have the sense that, you know, the government was somewhat defensive about it, you know, in
their response and sort of closed ranks about it. you know, and tried to analyze on its own without listening to others and taking other kind of, you know, considerations into effect and so i think it's still to be determined frankly and today they claim to be making progress on the plant, not just through the electricity but a seven-hour, you know, continuous water cannon being shot at the devastated plant. they said that they have been able to stabilize it somewhat. >> all right. stoicism, strength, resiliency, all those things identified with the japanese culture. do you think there's any cracks in the armor a week later or is everything as one would expect? >> you know, certainly at the beginning talk of japan with a society that sort of has a lot of, you know, basis on order and you saw sort of lines that formed for relief supplies and food and blankets and things
like that, much more orderly than one might expect in a confusing time and a panicked state but i do sense that as far down as tokyo where i am right now there's concern, no panic but i feel like people seeing signs it is worse and that that has made even, you know, certainly foreigners leave the country even but some japanese leaving tokyo for the south, for the west and real nervousness. we had another aftershock here about half an hour ago and there's even a new headline out within the last few moments of trace particles, elements of radiation in the tap water, not enough to cause harm and concern already, you know, coming out about that so still a long way to go. >> indeed. david, thanks for the call. appreciate it. >> thank you. as nato allies prepare for action against libya, president obama's accused of not acting fast enough. is this a legitimate allegation
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scientists in japan are desperately trying to prevent the release of more radioactive material but the government says it affecting crops. milk with unsafe levels found 20 miles from the plant and contaminated spinach found between 50 and 65 miles away. john loins is living with his family near the fukushima plant and joins me again. good to see you this weekend. we talked by phone last weekend. you were at your home last weekend. pretty much staying inside with your children. tell me where you are today. >> that's right. the situation's did same yet we're still at home and we're staying, you know, with the family there. things are a little more cautiously optimistic than they were last time we spoke. >> well, that's good news. why do you feel more optimistic, especially since i've just
reported that there are traces of radiation contamination in milk, in spinach that is as far as 50 to 65 miles away? is the government saying that's okay, not posing a problem? >> no. there's been warnings about that and been widely publicized here, as well. as i say in the last couple hours or so but all today we're cautiously optimistic because all today we have had lots of good news coming from the power plants. the water cannon, the self-defense force, the nation's fire service, as they're called the hyper rescue units water cannons were more than they hoped effective with cooling the reactors. electric power is being reconnected to the various reactors. one by one. as i saw in one of the headlines before and things are looking like they're becoming more stable. >> does that mean you're able to go outside? are you comfortable doing that yet? i mean, a sense of normalcy yet
at all, yon? >> as a pure precaution, we are keeping the boys inside. if we have anything to do, my father-in-law is doing some work outside today, i'm getting ready to go back to work eventually and as i come back here to my house, from my in-laws to use the computer here, i just walked outside with, you know, with just a -- like a rain jacket on and a mask over my mouth but yeah i was okay to go outside, yeah. >> john, what goes through your mind as you're walking between your in-laws' home to your home with a rain jacket on, a mask over your face? i mean, what are you thinking? >> how strange it feels. this is the biggest thing with the radiation because it's an invisible enemy and just -- just during the day we have beautiful sunny days and one of the hardest things keeping the boys inside and tonight just walking back here, it's a beautiful full moon, we live in a fairly rural
part of the city and no light pollution and it just looks so strange and sort of normal to have this, you know, this ongoing problem so nearby. >> yeah. john, have you given thoughts to long term and whether or not you're going to stay in the area? >> absolutely. yeah, no plans to go anywhere. just the situation is getting better day by day and the, you know, the local economy as you say it's affecting agriculture and food production somewhat but lots of other economy, you know, is driven by industry and i think it's going to recover as a region and become thriving again. looking forward to it. >> i'll bet. i'm curious if japanese officials come around at all with radiation detectors and gone through your home or, you know, make sure you guys are okay physically. has any of that happened? >> not with any any detectors or
anything because they're measuring levels in all the different parts of the prefecture here and in iwaki the levels 0.8, 0.9 mili sieverts and monitoring generally but one thing yesterday, the distribution by local town officials and like the neighborhood council members to give out some iodine tablets. >> what about the boys? things like the milk being contaminated with higher and potentially unsafe levels of radiation, do your boys like to drink milk? is that a concern for you looking long term? are you checking over your shoulder fish, spinach, milk anything else like that for radiation down the road? >> anything produced locally. a lot of milk and stuff, there's not a lot of cattle
fukushima. they're careful, you know, nation comes to food hygiene and protection and they've got fairly strict controls just generally so i'm confident that they're going to monitor levels in all things and keep an eye on that. >> great. john, good to speak with you on the phone last weekend. i'm thinking about you and your family and good to see you in person if you will and looking well. thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. you're welcome. for the latest on the containment efforts and the disaster in japan, head to msnbc.com. new momentum this morning for possible nato military strikes in libya. president obama says the demand for gadhafi to withdraw fighters is, quote, nonnegotiable. the republicans are criticizing the white house for not acting sooner. former new york mayor giuliani says the president missed the opportunity to lead. >> over the last week and a half i have never witnessed a worse case of a presidential decision
making. or lack of decision making. or conduct of foreign policy. ever. >> james hillen reports for politico. good morning to you. do agree with rudy giuliani just said? it is a -- he hasn't witnessed a worse case of presidential decision making or lack of decision making ever? it depends on who you're asking but hearing from republicans is they're honing in on libya and using the word diterring. we heard from john bolton at the republican meeting in sacramento and blasted the president so this is really a larger point emerging among republican candidates and speaks to the neo- conservatives among the republican ranks. after bush left office we thought they wouldn't be there anymore and seeing this interventionist, hawkish foreign
policy approach from all of these top-notch republicans. >> is there a case to be made and is the white house trying to make it that these are highly complex issues, decisions have to be made with an eye on the long term consequences? egypt you will admit in the best-case scenario for the obama administration and the white house did not overreact there. >> and what we saw in egypt is now playing out again in libya and initially the republicans held back, waited to see what would play out on the ground and attacked obama and had to change the point of attack when the situation really worked out as had -- as the obama administration hoped all along. >> is there anything the president could have done differently in this case? >> well, we are still seeing it play out though republicans say and some foreign policy experts say if obama had acted two or three weeks sooner and gone away with the no-fly zone a lot of people might not have died and the situation would not become what it is now.
that's the point of other republicans like sanatorium and pawlenty saying if we did what we're doing now two weeks ago we could have avoided the problems. >> it is easy to make the criticism from the sidelines and not making the decision. >> absolutely. no question at all. and this all speaks to a larger point of republicans looking for ways to criticize obama. we are already entering the 2012 presidential election season and the white house knows this. anything that obama does is going to get criticized. rudy giuliani, for example, someone to out-hawk anyone else running for president. he says he hasn't made up his mind blasting obama for making the worse decision ever to get headlines and attention as he tries to keep the name in the mix and we can expect more of this as libya unfolds and other foreign policy things happen and in the next year you can expect republicans to blast the
president. >> okay. james, thank you. >> thanks, alex. people in northern california dealing with a dangerous late-winter storm and onslaugt of snow caused this pile-up you are seeing here with about 40 cars on interstate 80. it left one person dead and 20 others injured. that was not video. it looked like a crash of some sort. i believe it was were looking at. that was that jet that came down. we'll gept you that video. meanwhile, the storm is expected to dump three feet of snow in nevada. and my itchy eyes tooke from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®.
the japanese government is now admitting mistake was made in managing that devastating quake in the days immediately following the disaster. the government's slow reaction coupled with newly amassed homeless citizens leading people to wonder where their leaders are amidst all destruction. gordon, good morning. why didn't government sources in japan reach out earlier? >> you know, the japanese are
insular. better than the quake where they refused all assistance. this time, u.s. teams and teams from other nations. the big story, tokyo electric, the operator of the nuclear plant. they have a history of covering things up. if they hadn't covered it up, the japanese government could have brought in the onboard nuclear response teams from the u.s. navy who are excellent at this, and we've got two carriers in the waters just off japan. the "ronald reagan" and "george washington," if on site last weekend, it would have made a big difference. this is going to become a political issue. >> how big are they now at admitting mistakes? >> it's obvious. this is a government in trouble before the quake. even people from the prime minister's only party were asking him to step down. he gets a lease of life, with pe
people rallying around him. just the response, alex. they had to admit. otherwise, they would have looklook ed out of touch. >> japan's been in economic straits for some years now. is that what's leading to the uncertainty? do you think japan will reach out and ask for help in other areas now or is it a cultural thing, maybe not? hard to do. >> maybe not. japan, their economy is powered by multi-nationals. they're resilient and be able to recover. it will take a couple years to rebuild. maybe five years to get the contamination out of the soil, but the japanese people have the emperor. they rally around the emperor. he spoke to the japanese people on wednesday. that's going to be very important. >> the situation starkly different than following world war ii, the development, technology people buying toyotas, sony, things like that. all that crippled, at least for a period of time? >> it's going to be crippled for
quite some time. they've lost about 16% of their electric power. the japanese will have to go out and get that. that's going to cause a global energy crunch. trouble, it's going to ripple throughout the world. not just a japanese resilience problem but for the global economy. >> okay. gordon chang good to see you. >> thank you. in a moment, the latest out of libya and the mystery of a plane that went down in flames. we'll show you the pictures here on "msnbc saturday." there they are.